Crime - Sacto 911

Person of of interest identified in South Lake Tahoe sexual assault investigation

A surveillance photo shows a person of interest in a South Lake Tahoe sexual assault investigation.
A surveillance photo shows a person of interest in a South Lake Tahoe sexual assault investigation. South Lake Take Police Department

South Lake Tahoe police thanked the public for quick response to the department’s request for help Friday in identifying a man described as a person of interest in a sexual assault investigation.

The victim reported being sexually assaulted in the early morning of Aug. 28 at a South Lake Tahoe residence, according to a Police Department news release. The victim and assailant had met only an hour earlier, so the victim could not identify the man, police said.

On Thursday, police released photos from a convenience store video system that were recorded in the area of the “Y” near the time of the assault. The man sought may use the name Ben or Benjamin, police said. He is described as in his late 20s or early 30s, about 6-foot-1 and weighing about 180 pounds. He has reddish hair and blue eyes. The August surveillance photos show him with shoulder-length hair and a beard.

Police said the photos were not immediately released because investigators thought they could identify the person through early leads in the case. A person originally suspected has since been found, identified and cleared of being either the person pictured or having any relationship to the case, police said.

After releasing the surveillance photos with a request for the public’s assistance, the Police Department received an anonymous tip suggesting the identity of the man. Then an attorney called, claiming to represent the man. The identity of the man provided by the attorney matched that provided by the anonymous tipster, police said. The attorney indicated his client was willing to cooperate in the investigation and arranged to meet with his client at the Police Department.

Because the case is still under investigation and no culpability has been established to the point of developing probable cause for an arrest, police said they were not releasing the man’s name.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy